Can the Paris Climate Deal Survive a Trump-Style Renegotiation?

One leading proponent of the renegotiation strategy has been Representative Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican and a Trump energy adviser during the campaign.


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“It seems to be very important to a lot of other countries for us to stay in Paris,” Mr. Cramer said in a recent interview. “But if they really think we’re the hinge-pin of this deal, then that gives us a lot of leverage to change the terms.”

So what would it mean for the Trump administration to remain in but try to reshape the Paris deal?

The broad outlines of the accord, agreed to by 195 countries in 2015, are no longer up for revision. Every country is required to submit a voluntary pledge to curb its greenhouse-gas emissions over time. Nations will then meet regularly to assess their progress and pressure each other to intensify action in an attempt to keep the overall global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. They will also haggle over issues like aid to poorer countries or how to compensate nations for “loss and damage” caused by a rise in sea level and other climate impacts.

If Mr. Trump decides to keep the United States in, however, he will have leeway to scale back its commitments, because those pledges are largely nonbinding. President Barack Obama vowed to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005…

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